I watched the dvd of Woodstock the other day, the "Director's Cut". It's been a long time since I'd seen it, but beyond the groovy music, I marvelled at the fact that the musicians and the young audience are all about 46 years older now than they were in 1969. I got a chill as that fact sunk in.
Well, not everyone is 46 years older. Many of the musicians are gone now, some passing away shortly after the upstate New York concert. They are forever remembered as the young and vibrant performers they were. It was Mr. Young who opined that it was "better to burn out, than to fade away," and who is to say that he was wrong?
I wonder how a Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix might have aged into the '70s, or beyond, with the impending rise of Disco and the onset of AOR. I can't see how they'd have done well in that milieu, tragic as their early demises were. We'll never know.
And what of that crowd of, what, 600,000, 700,000, 1,000,000 people that came to that weekend of peace and music? They proved it could be done, as farmer Max Yasgur said in the film, that they could come together in peace for an unprecedented concert event. Many have their memories, unless the herbs and chemicals prevented them from lasting. It's only in hindsight that we know that the triumph of Woodstock was not the beginning, but the end of an era.
Hey hey, my my.